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ESGR in the News


WATKINS, Minn. – Minnesota Army National Guard Spc. Ross Ruder presented an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award to Bob Simpson his supervisor and Plant Manager at Louisiana-Pacific Corp. Sept. 26.

The award was given to Simpson for his support of his employee’s service to the Minnesota Army National Guard. Ruder said that Simpson went out of his way to ensure that his needs were met both before and after his annual training.

Louisiana-Pacific (LP) supports both active guard members and retired veterans. The Watkins mill has two active guard members and two retired veterans employed currently. He said that Louisiana-Pacific offers many different benefits to active military members, one of which is differential pay. He stated that the company recently announced that beginning in 2024 Veterans Day will be a paid holiday.

Ruder said he was very proud to work for a company that values his service, active members and those who are retired. He said that the Watkins mill has exceeded expectations and in his opinion is one of the most veteran friendly companies he has worked for. Also present was Doug Broich who is the Minnesota ESGR Region 3 Chair.

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the National Guard and Reserve through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. ESGR also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers. This year, ESGR celebrates 51 years of excellence in support of the Reserve components and their civilian employers. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit

In addition to presenting the Patriot Award, Bob Simpson of Louisiana-Pacific Corp. signed an Employer Support of Guard and Reserve Statement of Support, confirming that Louisiana-Pacific joins other employers in pledging they fully recognize, honor and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).

Picture Left to Right: Specialist Ruder, Bob Simpson and Doug Broich.

Posted in: Michigan
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